Minnesota Youth Council Statement on the Murder of George Floyd
June 3, 2020
The following statement was written by the youth leaders of the Minnesota Youth Council:
On Monday, May 25th, in South Minneapolis, George Floyd, a black man, was murdered when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd struggled to breathe as two other officers restrained his waist and legs, and another officer held back the crowd nearby while he pleaded for his life. In the hours and days following his death, protests and mobilizations began in Minneapolis, and across the United States as people, especially younger generations, struggle to process the murder and how this incident revealed a continued pattern of racism and brutality in America. One way that many people are showing support is through social media, however, it is important to refrain from sharing videos of Floyd’s death as it is insensitive and triggering for many people.
The news of George Floyd’s death has caused anger and fatigue from the African American community because it follows other incidents of police brutality. Breonna Taylor, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, Michael Brown these are just a few names out of the hundreds of black men and women who have died at the hands of police. This can not be allowed in the 21st century. There have been many who say we must return to normal, however that is impossible because for many groups of color normal was being targeted unjustly for the color of their skin. These acts of violence are not normal, and they are not okay.
Though young people in Minnesota are feeling distressed and dealing with trauma, we have an important role of shaping the Minnesota we want to live in. The Council believes it is imperative that young people of all backgrounds continue to speak out on the issues of police brutality. The council is also committed to advocating for an end to police brutality and all racial disparities in Minnesota.
If you are outraged by the brutal murder of George Floyd, and countless other Black men and women who have died to police brutality, change your anger into action. It is important during this time we use all of the resources present to call for an end to police violence, and justice for all. Some action steps that you can take right now are signing petitions that call for Mayor Jacob Frey and the District Attorney’s office to arrest all officers involved in George Floyd’s murder. You can also call and email Governor Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman using this call template. Additionally, you can donate money to the communities impacted and to BIPOC-centered or run organizations.
The incidents of police brutality and systematic racism affects people of color, and especially Black people in America today. George Floyd’s death shows that it is important to be more than not racist, you have to be anti-racist. Educating ourselves and non-black friends and family about anti-racism is an important step. Books like The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi – are good educational tools that we must all read and learn from.
There are many ways we, the youth of Minnesota, can support George Floyd’s family and other victims of police violence. If you are looking for action steps and resources you can access the attached PDF below. There are many different petitions, places to donate monetary and food goods, mental health resources, and more that we can get involved in. We know that young people have the ability to change systems, influence adults and people in positions of power without donating. By simply speaking out, you can be the change you want to see.
The inequitable, oppressive systems that have faced scrutiny due to George Floyd’s death have existed for centuries. Though Civil Rights has advanced throughout history, our nation still has a long way to go. We, America’s young people, are this nation’s hope. Members of Generation Z are said to be inclusive and progressive. We are unwilling to allow the long-standing generations of racial inequities hinder our commitment to social justice. Because of this, we are not hesitant to imagine a new and better country for ourselves. We have commanded national power as youth activists, already showing ourselves to be a civically engaged generation. This country is ours to shape, and we will mold it with the empathetic, collectivist mindset that distinguishes us from former generations. While pursuing the best our nation has to offer, we will soften the hearts and minds of those who oppose us, paving the way for a better nation.